Kelowna Rockets defenceman Kaedan Korczak is looking forward to the 2019-20 season with one year of WHL experience now behind him. (Marissa Baecker - Kelowna Rockets Images)

Experience an essential element for Kelowna Rockets defenceman

Kaedan Korczak feels another year under the belt is big part of the Rockets’ Memorial Cup season

Day two of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft was a defining moment in Kaedan Korczak’s hockey career.

The Kelowna Rockets defenceman was selected 41st overall by the Vegas Golden Knights, thus expediting the busy off-season for the third Rockets player selected at the year’s draft.

From the IIHF U18 Hockey Championships in April to Vegas training camp through the summer, Korczak hopes to build on those experiences in his continuing development this season.

“Getting that extra year is going to be a big part of this season,” Korczak said.

“With the Memorial Cup, it’s going to be a fun and big year for the Rockets and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to routine in Kelowna.”

READ MORE: Rockets’ star impresses at World Junior showcase

Kelowna will host the Memorial Cup in May 2020.Hosting the tournament earns an automatic berth for the host city.

“Everyone being a year older, we’re going to have a really good team,” Korczak said.

“Last year wasn’t great, but this year we’re looking to make playoffs and make a big push for the Memorial Cup.”

His Rockets teammates Lassi Thomson, Nolan Foote and Dillon Hamaliuk were also selected at the NHL draft in June.

Korczak has talked with his teammates about their draft experiences, as well as their expectations for the upcoming season.

He said he didn’t know what to think after being drafted, especially since Vegas traded up to grab the 6-foot-2 defenceman, a similar storyline to how he ended up being drafted as a bantam by the Rockets.

“All I was feeling was joy and happiness. That was a fun day for sure.”

READ MORE: Rockets make big moves at WHL draft

Enjoying some brief time off in his hometown of Yorkton, Sask., before Rockets’ camp in September, Korczak is prepared to return to Kelowna in a bigger role.

“Us older guys will have to lead the younger guys and show them how it’s done this season,” he said.

The Rockets pre-season starts Aug. 30 with full roster camps starting shortly after ahead of the season-opener on Sept. 21.

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